Veteran Kenyan footballer McDonald Mariga has found himself caught in a political drama after it was alleged that he might be interested in vying for the vacant Kibra parliamentary seat.
It all started on Monday when a statement allegedly from the Jubilee Party listed the former Kenyan international as one of the aspirants looking to run for the Kibra seat. The seat fell vacant after the death of Ken Okoth on July 26 after a battle with cancer.
The letter had been signed by Raphael Tuju but the party’s Secretary-General later dismissed the letter as fake. The letter had listed Mariga and four other aspirants for the party’s candidature in the by-election slated for 7th November 2019.
According to an article by The Standard, Mariga is caught up between behind-the-scenes Uhuru and Ruto wars. Sources from statehouse claim that the list donning Mariga’s name came from the Deputy President’s office.
It is alleged that the Deputy President’s camp favourites Mariga’s candidature as they feel he is a strong competitor. They claimed that the party led by Raphael Tuju plot to field a weak candidate to help Raila Odinga’s ODM candidate to win the elections.
The footballer has found himself caught up in all this and yet the public does not know for sure if he is interested in venturing into politics. Mariga has retired from football and is free to run for a parliamentary seat but he has not spoken about that.
Ruto and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale were said to have approached Mariga and asked him to run for the seat left vacant following the death of Ken Okoth but the football star was yet to respond to the request.
The vacant Kibra parliamentary seat has attracted a number of celebrities who have surprised many by their political aspirations. Reggae DJ and TV host Chris Odhiambo famously known as Kriss Darling is among those interested in the seat. He left tongues wagging when he knelt before former Prime Minister Raila Odinga asking for an ODM ticket.
Former Mariga’s Harambee Stars teammate Dennis Oliech has had his contract at Gor Mahia withdrawn partly because he is interested in the seat too. The club terminated the player’s contract on Tuesday shortly after his ‘campaign poster’ made rounds on social media.
However, just like Mariga, Oliech has not given any communication in regards to his interest in vying for the Kibra MP. Out of the three celebrities, Kriss Darling is the only one who has confirmed that he will be vying for the seat.
Mariga is a retired footballer who was the first Kenyan to play in and win the UEFA Champions League. He won it when he was playing for Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan. The former Kenyan International is currently a brand ambassador for betting company Betin Kenya.